Hello. With the regular season over and basketball in full flower it's time for our annual handoff of recruiting content to some guy named Brian.
Let's play the feud! And by that I mean take a look at the current status of the recruiting class and where it might go. Some of this lives on the usually-pretty-accurate Recruiting Board.
Some months back Sam Webb reported that Michigan expected to take between 28 and 32 kids this cycle. They have 24 spots right now. 28 is easy to get to: we expect Peppers to enter the draft and potential fifth year seniors Wyatt Shallman, Shane Morris, and Scott Sypniewski to depart. Beyond that you're looking at transfers from underclassmen for playing time or other reasons, of which there are always a few.
We don't have definite word that anyone won't be back, but every year you see a handful of transfers from every program in America. Michigan got a number of players a degree in three years so they could have immediate eligibility elsewhere, and I'd bet you see a couple of those. 32 seems right given the number of guys on the roster who have dim prospects for meaningful PT and the way Michigan's recruiting.
Potential sixth years for Drake Johnson and Jeremy Clark are complicating factors; Michigan might need 34 spots for 32 kids. So too are available letters of intent. Michigan can backdate 6 early enrollees, which means they can only sign 31 players. Any extra will have to "blueshirt," which is arriving as a walk-on and immediately getting a scholarship. As always, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Inevitable Decommit Section
Michigan has 20 commits, leaving approximately 12 spots for additional recruits. In 2016 decommits are as inevitable as someone on twitter saying "lol u mad" ten seconds into a conversation; there will be some turnover. Currently wobbly gentlemen in the class include:
- NM RB O'Maury Samuels, who took an Arizona visit and has consistently expressed an interest in visiting various Big 12 and Pac 12 schools. Arizona probably isn't much of a threat after the year they had. Samuels might be prepping alternate plans in case Michigan does land CA RB Najee Harris, just like...
- MA RB AJ Dillon, who visits BC this weekend. There's also been a moderate amount of Wisconsin chatter that has so far not resulted in a visit. Dillon is coming in for Michigan December 9th recruiting weekend; it would be a surprise if he ended up elsewhere without the Harris bomb dropping.
- AL S J'Marick Woods visited Mississippi State and Arkansas. His final-final decision is Friday. Both Arkansas and MissSt insiders are expressing optimism; guys like Lorenz and Webb don't think there's anything to fret about.
- FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert has visited both Miami and Florida. He plans to go out to Miami and maybe Florida again in January; with teammate FL OL Tedarrell Slaton trending away from M and possibly to one of those two schools this is a situation to keep an eye on.
Those are listed in approximate order of wobbliness.
On top of that, Michigan's been known to have second thoughts about particular recruits and may ship a couple dudes to Pitt. And on top of that, Michigan's clear desire to pack both OL and DL like cordwood may induce some current commits to look to less crowded depth charts.
Expect somewhere between 2 and 65 decommits by signing day. Trust no one!
[After THE JUMP: positional breakdown.]
Hello. This is an attempt to give you a 1,000 foot view of Michigan's current recruiting class. It lives as a wiki post under the "Useful Stuff" heading as well, and can be updated by anyone with 500+ points. Last updated 12/19.
Michigan can take a maximum of 31 LOIs in the class. Going past 31 requires Michigan to "blueshirt" kids. Blueshirting is recruiting a guy as a walk-on with the promise he will immediately get a scholarship upon arrival. This avoids the LOI cap but has other complications—kid can't take an official, for one. There are a few in-state guys who might sign up for that.
Per Sam Webb Michigan expects somewhere between 28-32. Right now we're projecting
28 29 30 31 31.
CURRENT CLASS SIZE
Michigan has 26 commits. We consider NJ WR Brad Hawkins a hard commit once again after prepping. FWIW, we project Ben Mason as a FB.
Some commits are soft. NM RB O'Maury Samuels has taken a visit or two and delayed his official, which can be a sign of an impending split. FL OL Kai-Leon Herbert visited Florida and Miami and plans to return to both.
At this juncture we aren't aware of anyone who definitely won't be in the class. Recruiting being what it is, there will be some additional turnover.
ROOM LEFT AND WHO MICHIGAN IS TARGETING
That leaves ~5 spots left. At this point Michigan's board is very narrow. They are done at QB, FB, and DE. Likely deployment of those spots:
- 1 WR
- 1 DT
- 1 DB
- 2 wild cards
Some guidelines to the below: players are put in columns based on the opinions of MGoStaffers and not necessarily because the recruit has announced Michigan is in X group or is a leader. To move out of “on the radar” you usually have to at least schedule a visit on a specific date.
Bolded players are projected commits. We have 31 on the list below.
MICHIGAN FOOTBALL 'CROOTIN OVERVIEW
|DECENT SHOT||TOP GROUP||LEADER||COMMITS|
|RB(2)||S Carr |
|K. Taylor |
|FB (1)||B. Mason*|
|Slot (0)||O. Martin|
|J. Hall* |
|OG(1)||T. Slaton||K. Herbert(S)|
|C (1)||C. Ruiz*|
|DT(2)||P. Paea |
|NT (0+2)||J. Tufele||A. Solomon|
|SLB (1)||W Gay|| ||J. Anthony|
|ILB (2)||E Brooks|
|CB (2+1)||B. St-Juste* |
projected class in bold
Please don't remove updates until there is a front page board update that notes the changes.
no reason [Eric Upchurch]
Sam Webb reports that Michigan is going to take another very large class this year, with numbers I'm not sure are in fact possible: 28 on the low end and 32(!) on the high end. Michigan took 28 last year*, backdating seven. That should mean that they can only backdate four from this year's class, giving a hard LOI cap of 29. Schools are figuring out ways around that LOI cap—that's what "blueshirting" is—but those are inconvenient.
Meanwhile I'm not sure about getting to the larger number without cutting certain spots on the roster to the bone. Michigan has 18 slots open right now and it's not too hard to get to 23 via a combination of early NFL draft entry, unrenewed fifth years, and the injury situation with Freddy Canteen. Five more departures to hit 28 is not unreasonable, but the roster will skew very young next season so there are going to be fewer players who are ready to move on in search of playing time.
It'll be interesting. The takeaway is yes, expect another large class.
*[I'm not counting Dytarious Johnson for purposes of this conversation. If he does enroll that obviously occupies another scholarship slot.]
Michigan is probably done with #1 QB Dylan McCaffrey in the fold but they could take a second, especially if that second had upside at another position. GA QB Jelani Woods, a 6'7" dual threat guy, is the only name on the board that fits this description at this instant. 90% they are done.
With Kurt Taylor, AJ Dillon, and O'Maury Samuels committed Michigan is done unless a nationally elite name wants to join up. In that case they'd have to make a hard decision. Taylor does fit the profile of the guys that they more or less forcibly decommitted in the previous class, but dude is so enthusiastic about Michigan and the PR would be so bad that even if they wanted to—and I'm not saying they do—they would probably have to keep him.
FWIW, a strapping athlete like Dillon could easily be a Don Brown linebacker. The other two guys are locked in at tailback.
[After THE JUMP: positions that are not full.]
Previously: the offense.
Joshua Kaindoh is a big-timer at DE
The Need. Defensive tackle is a major priority. Going into 2017 Michigan is down to Mone, Hurst, Dwumfour, and Pallante at a spot where four players are more or less starters these days. Gary can of course fold inside; even so Michigan should be hard after two or three DTs.
End is less of a numerical priority with four or five guys in the past two classes if Reuben Jones and Carlo Kemp have long term futures on the line. I expect that is the case; a couple ends should be expected.
The Prospects. Tackles:
- NJ DTs Fred Hansard and Corey Bolds are from New Jersey and thus obviously high on Michigan's target list. Despite being a Paramus guy, Bolds is reputed to heavily favor Clemson right now; Hansard is a realistic prospect but a guy who is getting a lot of attention from OSU and the like.
- UT DT Jay Tufele has an offer and is from an area of the country where Michigan has had some recent success. Oregon has a couple picks on the crystal ball that probably don't mean much.
- M is trying to get in with five-star TX DT Marvin Wilson but he's a major longshot.
Aaaand that's it right now. This is a bit of a worry, insofar as anything can be a worry in a recruiting class almost a year from signing. Michigan needs two or three guys and has limited priority options right now.
- Instate DE Corey Malone-Hatcher is ranked in the top 200 everywhere and generally expected to end up at M, though ND, OSU, and Alabama are also involved.
- Five-star FL DE Joshua Kaindoh is originally from Baltimore; he transferred IMG and maintains a top list with a distinctly Midwest flavor. Penn State was an early leader, and these days "Penn State leads" is a big red bullseye for Harbaugh.
- Five-star FL DE Jarez Parks is actually from Florida and will be a tough pull; Michigan is reruiting him hard all the same.
- MD DE Chase Young has the full suite of Midwest offers and a few Maryland predictions from the locals. Michigan will be after him; he has given no indication of a leader.
The Projection: Michigan should get Malone-Hatcher; Hansard is an increasingly good bet as OSU has already gotten two DT commits. Past that it's cloudy. Michigan should have a good shot at Kaindoh, especially if Michigan and PSU have the seasons it looks like they will. They'll take two DTs and two DEs.
Singleton seems familiar somehow
The Need. Michigan got plenty of numbers at linebacker a year ago and can take it easy in this class. They lack top-end prospects, however, so finding a couple potentially elite guys is an important goal for 2017.
The Recruits. This position seems pretty easy to peg. Paramus LB Drew Singleton has been on campus repeatedly; Michigan is a heavy favorite. MI LB Josh Ross is James's younger brother. Michigan is also a heavy favorite with him. Pioneer ATH Antjuan Simmons has offers from the world and is probably an OLB at the next level; he seemed a bit miffed that Michigan waited to offer and has been seeking the proverbial love. He released a top 11 without M in it; we'll see whether that holds up.
Michigan is also chasing a couple of big fish. One is five-star Baylor commit Baron Browning, whose brother played for Harbaugh at Stanford. 2017 #1 Dylan Moses, a linebacker out of Louisiana, has a top six that doesn't include M but…
The move to IMG could open a door to another top program, Michigan, which recently made headlines for announcing it would hold a portion of its spring practices at IMG Academy over the spring.
"That would be cool,” he said. "I’ve never really seen Michigan up close like that before and I’ve never visited the school either. It’s just a great opportunity and you know, hopefully I can get an offer from them, because I don’t have one yet.”
…will be around for Michigan's practices at IMG.
The Projection. Singleton and Ross and that's it.
The Need. You can never ever have enough corners; Michigan will pursue at least a couple. Safety is either a critical need or a modest one depending on where guys like Ahmir Mitchell and Brad Hawkins end up. In a large class they'll probably go with five or even six DBs. They are set to lose that many.
— Stanford Samuels III (@SSIII_) January 21, 2016
The Recruits. Three-star Canadian Benjamin St-Juste was a camp commit who got pushed back a year because of differences between the Canadian and American school systems.
- FL CB CJ Cotman was very excited about getting a Michigan offer; he immediately hit up every Michigan recruiting site for articles, fulfilling "who you talk to is important."
- FL CB Stanford Samuels III is another Florida State legacy out of Flanagan who Michigan will try to steal away from the Seminoles.
- FL CB Trajan Bandy, a high school teammate of Joshua Uche, has an offer and seemed pretty pumped about Michigan on twitter when Uche pulled the trigger. (He in fact jumped the gun with a celebratory tweet.)
- MI CB Ambry Thomas goes to King and has been hot and cold on Michigan depending on when you get him. Michigan has to repair some of the after-effect of the Swenson situation. After they do
- MI ATH Allen Stritzinger could be a corner or safety; we talked about him on offense.
- Michigan's trying to get involved with five-star TX S Jeffrey Okudah and did manage to slip into a top ten.
- Fantastically-named UT S Chaz Ah You picked up an offer in October.
- Instate safeties Jaylen Kelly-Powell and Scott Nelson are possibly the best bets to end up in the class; Kelly-Powell named Michigan his leader a while back and goes to Cass. Nelson is actually a MSU fan; we'll see if the Spartans get involved. Nelson is a Don Brown guy; he had a very early offer from BC.
The Projection. Nobody other than Kelly-Powell seems 50%+ to be in the class at this instant save St-Juste. They will take a pile of DBs, though.
Michigan is unlikely to spend a scholarship on a specialist this year. They picked up Quinn Nordin, the country's top kicker, and Camaron Cheeseman, the #2 long snapper, in the last class. They also added punter Will Hart. A Zoltan-level punter would be the only player Michigan goes after with a precious slot.
This instant's ridiculous class projection you should absolutely ignore
I mean do not pay attention to this at all. A confidence level of "high" means approximately a 50/50 shot they end up in the class. "Low" means this is more or less a placeholder.
|State||Position||Player||Approx. Stars||Confidence Level|
|CO||QB||Dylan McCaffrey||4.5||Very High|
|MI||RB||Allen Stritzinger||3.5||Very High|
|NJ||LB||Drew Singleton||4.5||Very High|
|CN||CB||Benjamin St Juste||3||Commit|
|MI||S||Jaylen Kelly-Powell||4||Very High|
We projejct that Michigan loses one additional grad transfer, leaving Michigan with 18 seniors and 18 spots to start 2017 with. A normal rate of attrition should see them get to a class around 25. Michigan can backdate three or four early enrollees depending on what happens with Dytarious Johnson, giving them a maximum class size next year of 28 or 29.
Dylan McCaffrey isn't as fast as Christian but we'll look past that
The Roster. Michigan isn't scheduled to lose anyone but with a roster that goes six deep at the moment it's likely a couple guys in back decide to look for greener pastures. Michigan will take one, because only a lunatic skips QB recruiting, and may grab a second if he's a Viramontes/Gentry type with upside at multiple positions.
The Recruits. Michigan has been focused on CO QB Dylan McCaffrey (yes that McCaffrey) for months now. They are in excellent shape with a guy who says he will commit by spring. A Stanford offer is the main way this gets derailed. The Cardinal is focused on GA QB Davis Mills, another Michigan target.
The Projection. Michigan gets McCaffrey and calls it a day.
Stritzinger is a two way athlete
The Roster. Drake Johnson and De'Veon Smith graduate, leaving four true tailbacks and Wyatt Shallman. If Ty Isaac doesn't emerge into a contributor he may take a grad transfer; despite two backs in the previous class tailback is a priority.
The Recruits. GA RB Kurt Taylor committed in November. In-stater Allen Stritzinger is the most likely tailback to join the class. Stritzinger is guy on the fringe of four stars who could also be a defensive back.
Past Stritzinger Michigan will swing for the fences. CA RB Najee Harris is a soft Alabama commit who will give Michigan a look. PA RB D'Andre Swift is someone Michigan will go after, but he's a 5'9" guy who may not see Michigan as the best fit. He's also from Philly, which has not been kind to Michigan recruiting over the years. MD RB Anthony McFarland is another scatback type who's well-regarded early. Michigan is currently on the periphery of his recruitment.
Michigan also has an offer out to NJ RB Bo Melton, a teammate of Ahmir Mitchell.
The Prediction. Michigan gets and keeps Stritzinger as an ATH and keeps looking. Harris is probably their best bet for a blue-chip despite the Bama commit; it's likely that one or two additional guys who end up in the class are not mentioned in this post. Taylor is a guy who may end up elsewhere. Or maybe not.
Peoples-Jones is Cass Tech's highest-touted prospect ever
The Need. Jehu Chesson and Amara Darboh both graduate, as does reserve DaMario Jones. Jaron Dukes looks unlikely to be back for a fifth year. That leaves Ways, Harris, and Perry plus 4-5 of the 6(!) WR types in 2016. (The others are likely ticketed for the secondary.)
Michigan will try to keep the numbers up by adding approximately three. They do not need to reach and can swing for the fences.
The Recruits. GA WR Jeremiah Holloman is already committed. He's a three star early in the process but just impressed at a camp and may move up into four-star range. Michigan wants him to impress, but not so much that Georgia gets involved.
Cass Tech's Donovan Peoples-Jones is a top ten national recruit and probably the highest priority for Michigan's staff in 2017 outside of OTs. OLSM's KJ Hamler is a dynamic 5'9" dude who really wants to go to Oregon right now. The rest of the board is extremely murky, with few top targets listing Michigan guy. They are after CA WR Joseph Lewis, an LA kid currently pegged for USC. CT WR Tarik Black is in an area of the country Michigan's done reasonably well in, but Michigan is trailing a bunch of schools.
The Projection. No idea. 50/50 that Holloman gets sufficient SEC interest to remove him from Michigan's equation. Peoples-Jones is reportedly coming around on Michigan as a potential power but Florida is consistently mentioned as a problem.
The Need. Michigan can go relatively easy here after signing three in 2016. They'll take at least one—they in fact have already done so. After that they can hold out for a top tier prospect, of which there don't seem to be a ton of in 2017.
The Recruits. In-state three-star legacy Carter Dunaway is already committed. Dunaway is a lot like Sean McKeon: a big frame that needs a lot of development. CA TE Jimmy Jaggers took an unofficial last fall, his second trip to campus. After Jaggers there's not much on the board; three of Michigan's top targets are already committed elsewhere, two to Notre Dame and one to Stanford.
The Projection. Michigan gets Jaggers to go with Dunaway.
Isaiah Wilson is a large man
The Need. Tackle is without question the #1 priority in the 2017 class. Michigan did not take a true tackle in 2016 and burned Grant Newsome's redshirt last year, leaving Nolan Ulizio the only tackle on the roster with freshman eligibility. Ben Bredeson could pop outside if necessary (and it will probably be necessary); he is a natural guard.
Michigan will also be on the lookout for a couple of interior linemen, with center a priority after Michigan did not get one in 2016.
The Recruits. Michigan has a commit from in-state four star JaRaymond Hall. More dudes are needed; fortunately, Michigan is well-positioned for a ton of high-end prospects. There are so many that we should grab us some bullets:
- 5* NY OT Isaiah Wilson has declared Michigan his leader repeatedly, most recently a few weeks ago. He said Michigan was a "big leader" while talking to a Florida site; that's a great sing. While Lorenz cautions that his recruitment is not likely to be a cut-and-dried thing over by March, Michigan is a solid favorite.
- FL OT Tedarrell Slaton also named Michigan his leader a few months back. Teammate Kai-Leon Herbert also has an offer; the pair is trying to visit over the spring. Even if they can't pull that off a dollar says they take in Michigan while they practice at IMG.
- CA OT Wyatt Davis will be a national recruit; Michigan is in an amorphous top group.
- NJ OT Micah Clark has Michigan in a top 15; he says OSU leads. OSU already has a couple of high-profile tackles committed.
- FL OC Cesar Ruiz is at IMG; before that he was at Camden with Brad Hawkins and Ron Johnson. Michigan is in an early top three that figures to expand before narrowing down again.
- TX OT Austin Deculus has a Michigan offer and some interest; he'll be a tough pull away from LSU even if Michigan currently sits in his top 3.
- WI OT Tyler Beach has a tentative top two of Michigan and Wisconsin; he's originally from Colorado and thus not as locked in to the Badgers as a lot of in-state OL are.
- GA OT Netori "Fifth Element" Johnson just decommitted from Alabama. Michigan grabbed Elysee Mbem-Bosse out of his school last year and he's interested in M.
Michigan will take four or five guys this cycle and I wouldn't be surprised if three of them were tackles.
The Projection. Hall sticks, Michigan gets Wilson and Ruiz and maybe Slaton. They add a fifth guy who is 30/70 to have been mentioned.
Brian Cole is the jewel of Michigan's currently wee recruiting class.
Michigan has a lot of recruiting to do in the next month, and if you're like me you stopped paying attention to it about six seconds before the end of the first half in South Bend. Each decommitment spurred wonderment that there were any recruits left to do that, all updates were guys saying LOL NO politely, focus turned to firing all the things. Now that we've acquired a Harbaugh, that promises to change.
Let's re-orient on Michigan's 2015 recruiting class.
IN THE FOLD
Michigan only has six commitments but at least they're quality ones. They are:
- MI WR Brian Cole, a consensus top 100 kid and the top player in the state. Cole may be a safety and is listed as an ATH a couple places.
- OH S Tyree Kinnel, a consensus four star.
- NJ OT Grant Newsome, also a consensus four star.
- MI QB Alex Malzone is a six-foot-ish QB in the Drew Tate mode.
- PA OG Jon Runyan Jr. Legacy kid, obviously. Generic three star.
- OH K Andrew David, who's a kicker. A good one, and a needed one.
Michigan has five open slots right now and a number coming. A few months ago the number on the class was supposed to be 16. Not sure if that included Ferns's surprising transfer. For some reason I thought Hoke mentioned that two unnamed offensive linemen are going to go on medical hardship scholarships, but I can't find anything of the sort in the presser transcripts.
Whether he said it out loud or not, some attrition at OL is inevitable. Michigan returns their entire starting five plus Erik Magnuson, and there are a couple of guys who have struggled with injuries for a long time. Some will light out for greener pastures or take medical hardships.
Other attrition might come at DT and at CB, where there's enough returning experience to squeeze out guys who are now staring down the likelihood they'll never play.
Assuming 16 guys, which may be conservative:
TIGHT END: 1. If Harbaugh's Stanford tenure is any indication we're in for a buttload of TEs. Michigan does not have one in this class, but with CT TE Chris Clark still considering the Wolverines after his decommitment and tweeting out Harbaugh-related exclamations that might not last long($).
RUNNING BACK: 1. Michigan has a glut in the junior class; Ty Isaac's redshirt means that they effectively do have a back from the last class. Still, Michigan needs a guy. It doesn't sound like MI RB Mike Weber is going to come back into the fold, so they'll have to range afield. KY RB Damien Harris is not reconsidering M either.
OFFENSIVE LINE: 2. Michigan only took two in the last class and with Mason Cole starting from day one their 2014 class is effectively one dude: Juwann Bushell-Beatty. Michigan hasn't taken an interior linemen since Kugler, Dawson, and Samuelson two years ago—it's time to fill out the numbers there, especially if they lose a couple of current members of the roster.
DEFENSIVE END: 2. Michigan has just four on the roster. Edge rusher is a huge priority.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE: 1. Nose is probably set with Hurst, Mone, and Pallante all underclassmen and Glasgow emerging into a quality option. Three-tech has plenty of options right now but they'll all be redshirt juniors and Michigan has no one behind them.
LINEBACKER: 1. Still not a huge need even after Ferns's departure; should get one guy to prevent a big gap.
CORNERBACK: 1. See linebacker. Not a huge priority but good to have a guy in.
SAFETY: 1. Numbers are still thin even with Kinnel sticking.
If Michigan ends up with more space than the above assumes, WR, QB, and DT are candidates for additional reinforcements.
Ace will keep you apprised of the names that might emerge to fill those holes in the regular recruitin' posts. It's a little early yet to have a set of names.